Perfect Pound Cake

Tested & Perfected Recipes

Elegant and simple, this rich and buttery pound cake is like the little black dress of dessert.

Pound Cake

Pound cake is like the little black dress of dessert.  It’s elegant in its simplicity; you can dress it up or down; and it’s wonderful anytime, anywhere. My all-time favorite recipe comes from The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum, a classic and essential cookbook for all bakers. While most traditional pound cake recipes call for equal weights of flour, sugar, eggs, and butter, Rose’s recipe incorporates milk, lots of extra butter, and a little baking powder.

The result is a rich and buttery yet fluffy pound cake that melts in your mouth. Rose writes: “This cake not only has a silky-smooth dissolving texture similar to famous Sara Lee pound cake but also the incomparable moist, butter flavor of a home-baked cake. It’s excellent keeping qualities make it ideal for slicing ahead and bringing on picnics.”

What you’ll need to make pound cake

how to make pound cake

How  to make pound cake

Before we get to the step-by-step instructions, a few words about the method. Pound cake is a “high-ratio” cake, which means that the weight of the sugar equals or exceeds the weight of the flour.

Why does this matter? Instead of the more common “creaming” method (where the butter and sugar are beaten together before the eggs, flour, and liquid are added), high-ratio cakes can be made using the “high-ratio” or “quick-mix” method. This involves mixing all the dry ingredients with the butter and some of the liquid first, then adding the remaining liquid ingredients. This method is not only faster and easier than the traditional creaming method, but it also yields incredibly tender and fine-textured cakes.

how to make pound cake

To begin, combine the milk, eggs, and vanilla in a medium bowl. Whisk with a fork until just combined and set aside.

how to make pound cake

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), place the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

how to make pound cake

Mix on low speed for about 30 seconds or until blended.

how to make pound cake

Add the butter and half of the egg mixture.

how to make pound cake

Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened.

how to make pound cake

Increase the mixer speed to medium (high speed if using a hand mixer) and beat for one minute.

how to make pound cake

Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining egg mixture, in 2 separate additions, beating about 30 seconds after each addition to combine.

how to make pound cake

Be sure not to over-mix, or you’ll incorporate too much air into the batter and your pound cake won’t dome as nicely.

how to make pound cake

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon.

how to make pound cake

Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and a thin wooden skewer or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

how to make pound cake

Place the cake on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Then remove the cake from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack.

how to make pound cake

Wrap the cooled cake in plastic wrap or store in a large sealable plastic bag. The wrapped pound cake will keep for several days at room temperature, for one week when refrigerated, or it can be frozen for two months. Enjoy!

how to make pound cake

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Perfect Pound Cake

Elegant and simple, this rich and buttery pound cake is like the little black dress of dessert.

Servings: 8
Prep Time: 15 Minutes
Cook Time: 50 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 5 Minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 tablespoons milk (skim, low fat, or whole)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1-1/3 cups cake flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled with a straight edge
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 13 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (no need to cut it in pieces)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and set an oven rack in the middle position. Lightly grease an 8-in x 4-in x 2½-inch loaf pan with butter or nonstick cooking spray. Dust with flour, shaking off any excess. (Alternatively, use a nonstick cooking spray with flour in it, such as Baker’s Joy or Pam Baking Spray with Flour.)
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the milk, eggs, and vanilla until just combined.
  3. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or with a hand mixer), place the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Mix on low speed for about 30 seconds or until blended. Add the butter and half of the egg mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase the mixer speed to medium (high speed if using a hand mixer) and beat for one minute. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add the remaining egg mixture, in 2 separate additions, beating about 30 seconds after each addition to combine. Do not over-mix. (The batter may have a slightly curdled or grainy appearance -- that's okay.)
  4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the cake is golden brown and a thin wooden skewer or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  5. Place the cake on a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes. Then remove the cake from the pan and cool completely on a wire rack. Wrap the cooled cake in plastic wrap or store in a large sealable plastic bag.
  6. The wrapped pound cake will keep for several days at room temperature, for one week when refrigerated.
  7. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The cake can be frozen for up to 3 months. After it is completely cooled, double-wrap it securely with aluminum foil or plastic freezer wrap, or place it in a heavy-duty freezer bag. Thaw overnight on the countertop before serving.

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (8 servings)
  • Serving size: 1 slice
  • Calories: 339
  • Fat: 21 g
  • Saturated fat: 13 g
  • Carbohydrates: 34 g
  • Sugar: 19 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 4 g
  • Sodium: 139 mg
  • Cholesterol: 120 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Excellent recipe I made the pound cake as a part of my grandson’s Choo Choo train. Excellent recipe.

    • — Heeru Singh on January 10, 2021
    • Reply
  • I keep seeing that when the cake does not turn out correctly, the blame is often put on incorrect measuring. Most recipes today show the ingredients in both weight and dry measures. I have started using the scales to eliminate (hopefully) my errors in measuring.

    • — Kentucky baker on January 9, 2021
    • Reply
    • Hi, The great majority of my recipes (including this one) include conversions to metric/weight measurements. To view them, scroll down to the recipe, and immediately under the recipe title on the right side, you’ll see a little toggle. If you move it from “cup measures” to metric, you’ll see measurements that will work for you.

      • — Jenn on January 9, 2021
      • Reply
  • 13 tablespoons of butter does that equal to 2 sticks of butter.

    • — Joyce camilleri on January 9, 2021
    • Reply
    • No, it’s just over 1-1/2 sticks of butter. It’s one stick of butter plus 5 tablespoons. Hope that clarifies!

      • — Jenn on January 9, 2021
      • Reply
  • Me and my wife made your cake today and I can’t stop eating it. Thanks

    • — Rez & Nik on December 1, 2020
    • Reply
  • Good flavor, nice crust. I made in an old glass Pyrex 8.5X4.5 . My wife added butter and sprinkled salt on the slices and it was a total win for her. Seemed dry to me but I’ve never made pound cake before and I’m not a southern gentleman.

    • — Jim on November 30, 2020
    • Reply
  • The cake turned out nicely. It is light and moist. Just that I noticed there is a layer at the bottom that is a pale colour and rubbery. What might I have done wrong here? Thanks.

    • — Neville on November 23, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Neville, it sounds like it may have been slightly underbaked. Next time, I’d leave it in the oven for a few extra minutes.

      • — Jenn on November 24, 2020
      • Reply
  • I made your pound cake. It has a delicious taste, however, it was bone dry and not eatable. I am puzzled since I was careful to follow your instructions. Could you advise me what I might have done wrong. Your recipes are always delicious. Thank you for your reply. Jan F.

    • — Jan Finnegan on October 20, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sorry you had a problem with this! Dryness is usually caused by measuring the flour incorrectly. Did you use the spoon and level method to measure the flour? Even a few extra ounces can make a big difference. This article/video explains it nicely. Also, did you serve them on the same day? Like most homemade cakes, they don’t stay fresh for long.

      • — Jenn on October 20, 2020
      • Reply
  • Do you sift cake flour before measuring?

    • — Diane on October 2, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Diane, All flour that you find at the grocery store now is pre-sifted so it’s no longer necessary to sift before measuring. 🙂

      • — Jenn on October 2, 2020
      • Reply
  • Save yourself the wasted ingredients and cream the sugar with the butter first, as is normal with pound cake recipes. The instructions in this recipe = a messy greasy pile of glop.

    • — A on September 24, 2020
    • Reply
    • A,
      I have baked this cake 7-8 times so far (my daughter and granddaughter love it!) and I have never had any problems with it coming out gloppy or greasy. I did not cream the sugar with the batter first, I followed the directions as written in the recipe. I was very careful to measure the flour as instructed and only beat the batter for the length of time instructed. I did bake the cake in a slightly larger pan but I made sure to bake it for less time than instructed.
      Hopefully you will give it another try, it is a delicious cake!

      • — MAbe on October 25, 2020
      • Reply
  • My bread pan a USA is 8 1/2 x 4 1/2
    My cake was shallow. Just not what I wanted. Any advice. Oh I think I cooked it too long.
    Probably because I set time for a “fuller” cake. Like 55 min.

    • — Sandra on September 14, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Sandra, although it doesn’t seem like it would make a big difference, using an 8-1/2 x 4-1/2-inch loaf pan instead of an 8 x 4-inch will definitely give you a more shallow loaf. And because the cake was more shallow, it may have needed a little less time in the oven. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on September 15, 2020
      • Reply
      • Hi Jen, can this cake be converted to dairy-free using almond/soy milk and soy butter? I made the cake following the regular recipe and it turned out great.

        • — Caroline on November 30, 2020
        • Reply
        • Hi Caroline, I think you can definitely get away with using dairy-free milk but not sure about the butter as it plays such a big part in the recipe. It may work; I just can’t say because I haven’t tried it myself. Please LMK how it turns out if you attempt it!

          • — Jenn on December 1, 2020
          • Reply
  • Delicious, moist and simple. Everybody loved it!!!

    • — Janet on September 1, 2020
    • Reply
  • 6 words: Indeed, the Perfect Pound Cake recipe!

    I’ve made this at LEAST 3 times in a row now because it finished immediately at home. The quantities are on point, the batter is amazing and it bakes so incredibly well – it tastes even better. Thank you so much, bless you!!

    • — shizlee on July 28, 2020
    • Reply
  • This recipe has become a staple in my house! I make it every week or so, everyone loves it and it hasn’t failed me yet! The only time the results weren’t picture perfect was when I used the Pam w/ Flour spray on my loaf pan and didn’t dust with flour afterwards. It created a weird edge that didn’t rise as much and baked faster than the rest of the cake. The next time I used the Pam, I made sure to follow up with actual flour. Moral of the story: there’s no replacing the classic techniques! Haha. Anyway, awesome recipe! 10 stars!

    • — NK on July 13, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi Jen, I made this last night along with your berry sauce. While it smelled and tasted good. The texture was off, it was very dry. I followed the ingredients and your directions. Could I have overbeaten the mixture prior to putting it into the oven? I have made most of your recipes and my family thinks I’m an amazing cook. All thanks to you. I love your cookbook. I recommend the book & your website to all of my friends. Will you be releasing another cookbook anytime soon?

    • — Cici on July 7, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sorry you had a problem with this, Cici! Dryness is usually caused by measuring the flour incorrectly. Did you use the spoon and level method to measure the flour? Even a few extra ounces can make a big difference. This article/video explains it nicely. And glad you like the cookbook; I actually am working on another one that’s set to be released in the Fall of 2021! :0

      • — Jenn on July 7, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi! Can I use all purpose flour instead of cake flour?

    • — Rose on July 6, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Rose, If you have cornstarch, you can make cake flour. For every 1 cup of AP flour, replace 2 tablespoons with cornstarch. All-purpose flour alone will work, but the cake won’t be nearly as light and tender. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on July 7, 2020
      • Reply
  • It literally came out perfect!!! I didn’t have cake flour, I used self rising flour, substituted the milk for almond milk and I substituted butter for smart balance butter. The most perfect pound cake ever.
    Thank you for your recipe, I also made your blue berry muffin and omg…the best.
    Thank you again.

    • — Edrica McKenzie on June 1, 2020
    • Reply
  • First time trying the pound cake recipe and results were great…followed the recipe as listed …will be adding this recipe to my recipe box!!!!

    • — Maggie Belgie on May 18, 2020
    • Reply
  • I made this and loved it. Just one question — the middle felt a little too thick or dense — what could be the reason?

    • — Amina on May 18, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Amina, it sounds like the center may have been a bit underbaked. Next time, I’d give it a few extra minutes in the oven.

      • — Jenn on May 18, 2020
      • Reply
    • Lovely recipe and the cake turned out a treat. Thank you for sharing it.

      • — Annu on May 25, 2020
      • Reply
  • I just made the pound cake in a springform pan b/c my 2 loaf pans have not been returned by family members. It turned out beautifully! The taste is divine, it is sweet but not overly and it is very fluffy. It did not rise as much as it would have in a loaf pan but it rose enough. I followed the recipe exactly- it was one of the easiest cakes that I have made in a long time. I will certainly make it again !

    • — Marilyne on May 4, 2020
    • Reply
  • This looks great! So moist and buttery. Could it be made in a 6-9 cup bundt pan and baked for the same amount of time? Thanks. It looks amazing 🙂

    • — C B on April 24, 2020
    • Reply
    • HI C B, I haven’t tried this in a bundt, but the author of the recipe notes that she’s tested the cake over 40 times and there’s no way to get that same melt-in-your-mouth texture in a larger cake, so it’s best to keep the cake small. But you can definitely double the recipe and use two 8×4-inch loaf pans. The cake can also be made in a 6-cup loaf (9×5-in) or fluted tube pan. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on April 24, 2020
      • Reply
      • Thank you for the advice! That is dissapointing that the texture would not maintain. I have seen some bundt pound recipes that can be made in a loaf pan, would this cake work vice versa even if the texture would not maintain ie would the cake bake and taste okay? I love the beautiful shape of bundt cakes.

        • — C B on April 24, 2020
        • Reply
        • You could make this as a bundt – technically it will work, but the texture may not be as good. You may want to consider my Kentucky Butter Cake instead.

          • — Jenn on April 24, 2020
          • Reply
  • Followed the recipe with all fresh ingredients and like others, it didn’t rise much which resulted in a dense cake. The flavor is spot on though and we enjoyed it. Because of the lack of rise, the sides cooked faster but the overall color was browned. I’d make it again but with some tweaks to the recipe so that we end up with a risen cake.

    • — Ro on April 18, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Ro, Sorry to hear this didn’t rise as you expected. Was your oven fully preheated before you put the pound cake batter in?

      • — Jenn on April 19, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn. I made this cake tonight and it came out perfect. Little black dress, indeed. First time I made it last year, but it didn’t come out well, it was too dry. Tonight I replaced cake flour with self rising, baked in 170 degree oven for 45 min. Delicious! Thank you!

    • — Rasa on April 18, 2020
    • Reply
  • Hi, just made it last night. Taste wise it’s ok for me. However, mine didn’t come out like your picture. My oven is in celcius, so 350F is about 176+ C, so I bake it at 180C but up till about 15mins the top is already like fully brown while the sides still pale yellow, center risen but didn’t cracked. So, end up pulling it out of the oven with center unbaked, so reheat it back and the top start to burn, so i decide to flip it bottom up and bake it till stick come out clean. I think next time I’ll try to bake it at 150-160C instead of 180C?

    • — Anot on April 9, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Anot, Sorry to hear you had a problem with this! Yes, next time I’d suggest reducing the oven temp down to 150 and if you find that the top is browning before the center is done, loosely lay a piece of foil over top. Hope you have better luck if you try it again!

      • — Jenn on April 10, 2020
      • Reply
    • Hi Jenn, I made it last night, it was tasty however it did not rise as high as yours, like the other reviewer, yours looked almost double .
      I will definitely make it again. My husband enjoyed it as well

      • — Athena Lee on April 11, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    Mine came out quite delicious but did not rise almost at all. Yours in the pic rose twice as much. Im wondering where I could’ve gone wrong. All my ingredients were brought to room temperature. Any thoughts? Thank you so much

    • — Malak on March 28, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Malak, Glad it tasted good but sorry to hear you had a problem with the rise. Was your oven fully preheated before you put the pound cake batter in? Is your baking powder old or expired? Any chance you measured something incorrectly?

      • — Jenn on March 29, 2020
      • Reply
  • Made the cake today and the pound cake was perfect! My son loved it and gave me two thumbs-ups! Thanks a ton for the recipe! I brushed it with elderflower syrup and it was yum.

    • — Vasudha on January 16, 2020
    • Reply
  • I’m a baker and this recipe didn’t work for me. 🙁 It was excessively greasy! A real shame because I waited an hour for a hot mess to come out of the oven…I think your method of mixing the batter worked for me and maybe the butter didn’t incorporate very well. I’ll stick to creaming the butter and sugar, I guess. On the plus side, it held its structure well though didn’t rise very much. I’m wondering whether your ingredients’ weight converter is correct (I live in England and used the grams measurements). It does seem like an awful lot of butter.

    • — Baker on January 1, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi, I just double-checked the metric conversions and they are correct. Sorry to hear you had a problem with this!

      • — Jenn on January 2, 2020
      • Reply
      • I tried this today and it came out perfect for me despite I used brown sugar and slightly reduced the amount of it. And also I used AP flour ( before I read thru the other reviews about replacing 2 tbsp with cornstarch). Not too sweet, not too greasy, no eggy taste (I used brown eggs)…and I did add some black raisins too…Oh boy! Your recipe works well for a first time baker like me! Thanks Jenn…

        • — Zhela on May 30, 2020
        • Reply
    • Thanks for sharing this magical recipe Jenn, it’s wonderful! I cannot believe how quick this is to mix up and it will be my go-to pound cake recipe from now on.

      • — Debra on February 28, 2020
      • Reply
  • Hi Jenn, thank you so much for this fantastic recipe. I have made it quite a few times now and its an absolute family favorite.

    One question I have is – do you have any tips on how to soften the butter? I always end up keeping it on the counter for long time. But that makes it hard to plan the recipe ahead of time.

    • — JD on November 28, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi JD, Glad you like the pound cake! And regarding softening butter, if I haven’t left the butter out on the counter in advance, I’ll put the still-wrapped stick of butter in a small (snack or sandwich size) ziploc bag and submerge the bag in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes. After a couple minutes, pull it out and give it a little squeeze. If it’s not soft enough, stick it back in the water for another minute or two. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on November 29, 2019
      • Reply

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